Increasing Access to Primary Care in Central Texas
Celebrating 40 years of serving the community, the People’s Community Clinic (PCC) assures low-income families in Central Texas have a medical home for primary care services. The independent, locally managed clinic was founded in 1970 to improve the health of medically underserved and uninsured Central Texans by providing high quality, affordable healthcare. A commitment to providing care with dignity and respect and to developing systems of care that promote wellness are PCC hallmarks.
The freestanding clinic seeks to provide continuity of care through a full range of prenatal, pediatric, adolescent, and adult care. Services are offered on a sliding fee scale based on income with a focus on prevention and wellness including immunizations, diabetes education, nutritional counseling, behavioral health counseling, chronic disease management, women’s services, onsite laboratory and pharmacy services, and social work services.
Approximately 11,000 patients rely on the one-stop availability of the clinic’s medical, lab and pharmacy services. In addition, providers deliver some services offsite to adolescents through the LifeWorks shelter for homeless and at-risk youth and Austin Children’s Shelter.
Expanded Hours Increased Provider Visits 33 Percent
With one in four people in Central Texas uninsured, the demand on the Austin People’s Community Clinic has continued to grow.
“About five years ago, we saw the need to increase our capacity. Our patients are generally working people who can’t afford health insurance and whose jobs do not provide it. They needed greater access to medical care for themselves and their families without losing pay or possibly their employment,” said Margaret Henkels, Development Director.
The clinic’s goal was to increase capacity through expanded hours and also by becoming more efficient in delivering its services.
The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation became a supporting partner in 2004, funding over $1.2 million through annual grants to help the clinic increase capacity. Initial funding allowed opening the clinic four evenings a week and ongoing support has contributed to other systemic improvements. The efficiencies and expanded hours have resulted in a 33 percent increase in total provider visits since 2004.
The People’s Community Clinic currently provides the largest capacity for evening care outside of Austin’s hospital based emergency rooms.
A grant for $250,000 in 2009 and recently approved funding in 2010 from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation continues to support the clinic’s efforts to serve children, teens and adults through a range of services.
In 2009, the clinic saw 825 babies born into its practice who will need clinic services for well-baby checks and pediatric care. The funding is vital to sustain services to children and adults. It will also allow the Clinic to add more providers and other staff in the evening to maximize evening hours.
“It is impossible to overstate how important a long term partner can be in sustaining the growth and vibrancy of an organization,” said Henkels. “The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is an active partner as we move forward in pursuing new opportunities. They are very helpful and supportive. We want to be here another 40 years, and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is helping us do that.”